Hero Scott Howie was keen to stay in the spotlight « Shropshire Star
It might be 12 years on, but Scott Howie admits he has one regret about being Shrewsbury Town s hero in the Conference play-off final win.
The Scottish keeper, now 44 and living in Great Yarmouth, saved three penalties in the tense shoot-out against Aldershot at Stoke s Britannia Stadium in 2004 as Town won 3-0 after the final had ended 1-1.
Now a tax adviser to footballers, the Glaswegian admits he was so confident on the day that he wanted to carry on saving them!
I felt a bit gutted I never got the chance to save another one! said Howie, who was one of 12 former Shrewsbury players and staff to attend Tuesday s reunion, organised by ex-Town kitman Alan Rivers and BBC Radio Shropshire sports editor James Bond, before the Rochdale game, the 200th match hosted at the Greenhous Meadow.
I met the fourth Aldershot penalty taker Roscoe D Sane a few years later and asked him which way he was going to go, and I would have guessed right.
I thought he would have hit it to my right and he said he would.
Howie, however, insists he could never have taken one.
The takers are under a lot of pressure I could never take a penalty, it s difficult, he said.
Howie revealed he was well-prepared for his crowning moment.
Cookie (coach Dave Cooke) and (manager) Jimmy Quinn had given me a video of all the penalties from Aldershot s semi-final and I assumed everyone was going to put their penalties in the same place and strangely they all did! he recalled.
As a goalkeeper you play all game worried about making mistakes so a shoot-out is the one chance you get to express yourself.
All the pressure is on the taker.
But he had his own distractions to keep in check.
It was very hot I was exhausted and the occasion drains you, he said.
I can remember during extra-time, producing the effort to put one foot in front of the other was hard and I wasn t running about!
While Howie didn t try Bruce Grobbelaar s spaghetti legs to break the takers concentration, he certainly tried to put the Aldershot players off.
I might have said a couple of things to them I tried to put them off as much as I could to keep the pressure on them, he said.
Luke (Rodgers) hit our first one over, but if you look at all of our penalties, they were all professional, calm and well hit from Jamie Tolley, Jake Sedgemore and Trevor Challis.
And he revealed how the tide turned in Town s favour.
I think, maybe, my second save stood out because that was when I felt the momentum had turned a bit, he said.
After the second one, it felt like we had the upper edge so there s pressure on the takers.
More than a decade on, and Howie is delighted to have played his part in club history as Shrewsbury, whose play-off final squad contained a youthful Joe Hart and Dave Edwards on the bench, became only the third team to bounce back to the Football League at the first attempt.
We all played our part. Not many teams have bounced back from the Conference at the first attempt and a lot of big clubs are in there and can t get out now, he said.
So I think when you see the stadium and how far the club has come forward, it s great.
And he was delighted to catch up with his old team-mates.
It was fantastic I hadn t seen those guys for 12 years and I was amazed no one had changed really, he added.
Some of the boys, such as Sam Aiston and Darren Tinson, look like they could still play!
Howie was clearly the hero of the day, and as he reveals, didn t have to buy a drink all night as the celebrations got underway.
We all came back to Shrewsbury and went in various pubs and then it all became a bit of a blur! he said.
I can t remember buying a pint that night!
It went on well into the early hours and then a couple of days later we had a civic reception.
That was great a fantastic experience because you could see how much it meant to the town and how many supporters are here.
For Howie, the unforgettable day ranks alongside anything he achieved in a long career that included being in the Norwich squad that played Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup, being in full Scotland squads and being a Wembley finalist for Wrexham in the FA Vase at the age of 38 in 2010.
It s right up there at the top I ve played games in front of bigger crowds that maybe had more financially riding on them, but the importance to the club to bounce back into the League was huge. It was a pivotal moment, he said.
For player-boss Quinn, it was team spirit of that Shrewsbury squad that shone through.
I remember when we came to the club, big Alan Rivers, the kit man, was taking the warm-up with six players three-a-side! he recalled.
But we put a squad together.
I remember Dave Cooke and myself had to fly to Spain to talk Darren Tinson into coming and he became captain.
But there was a good atmosphere and a good team spirit.
It got a bit carried away at times because they used to drive alongside each other and throw eggs at each others windscreens!
Quinn, now 56 and a driver in Crewe, won promotions with Reading, Swindon and West Ham plus 46 Northern Ireland caps in a high-profile playing career.
But he ranks his promotion at Shrewsbury alongside anything he achieved in football.
When you end up being part of a club s history it s massive, he said.
I ve been lucky, winning four promotions, and there s nothing better.